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  • The Responsibilities of The Children in the Family

    This triggers the tooltipWe have concluded the previous chapter which spoke of the responsibilities of the parents toward their children, with the passage we find in

    Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

    This is one of the primary responsibilities that is commanded by God to the children in the family. This is, in fact, the fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments.

    This is what God desires from children of all ages, this is not a commandment that is valid only and exclusively while the children are small or minors still living under the parent’s roof. It is a commandment that is valid for children of all ages.

    This commandment is not exclusively a commandment that was valid only for the Israelite people but it is a commandment that is taught to be obeyed in the Apostolic doctrine for the church. It is not cultural, it is universal and binding for all children, for all ages, for all times. It must be taught and obeyed in the church, and therefore, in the Christian family.

    It is a commandment, however, that is as well as all the other ones, related and tied to the training and admonition of our children. In other words, this commandment will not be naturally obeyed by children, it must be taught through training, correction and discipline. We see that to honor our parents is a commandment and it has to be obeyed, but it also must be taught how to obey. This is the parent’s responsibility. Honoring our parents has to be done. Honor to our parents is first instilled in the children through the loving training and correction of the parents. Let me explain.

    When a child is lovingly disciplined and corrected as we have studied, when they are scourged and trained in righteous living by the parents, what this does is it creates in them mainly two things. The first thing it creates in them is the fear of God, healthy respect and honor for God’s law and acceptance of God’s love as well as the parents’. Knowing that they are loved the children will develop a healthy spiritual behavior and attitude they will not become easily angered and rebellious EPHESIANS 6:4.

    The second thing it creates is honor and obedience to God and parents.

    Even though the children’s wrongful behavior in this, in other words, if the child does not honor and obey God or the parents it is not always because of the parents’ lack of training and correction, but it does influence the overall obedience and behavior of the children. God holds us responsible to obey this commandment whether or not our parents trained and disciplined us properly. It is, however, more easily obeyed when our children become born-again and are taught, trained and corrected biblically.

    That it is a commandment for the NT children is confirmed in the word of God in a few places.

    In fact, within the same context of the responsibilities of the parents we find the responsibilities of the children.

    Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

    Colossians 3:18-24 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

    As we see in this last passage, we find the responsibilities of the children to obey their parents in all things that are in line with the word of God, of course. However, we find these commandments here as in Ephesians in a very specific context. Both in Ephesians as well as here in Colossians the context is the responsibilities of the various subjects. There is a common denominator in both contexts. Submission to God first and then to the roles and authorities God has put in place. Love and honor toward God and then others. We have studied the order of submission of the various roles in the family and the church. Let’s take a look at it again.

    1) ALL roles and persons are to submit to and obey God and His word first of all EPHESIANS 5:22

    2) God is the head of the church and of the man 1 CORINTHIANS 11:3,COLOSSIANS 1:18

    3) The man-husband must submit to and obey God but is the head of the woman-wife 1 CORINTHIANS11:3EPHESIANS 5:23

    4) The woman- wife must submit and obey God- husband EPHESIANS 5:22-24,COLOSSIANS 3:18,
    1 PETER 3:1-3

    5) The children must submit to and obey God and parents EPHESIANS 6:1-3,COLOSSIANS 3:20, 1 TIMOTHY 3:4

    6) Servants or employees must submit to and obey God and their masters or employers. COLOSSIANS 3:22,
    1 TIMOTHY 6:1-2,TITUS 2:9-10, 1 PETER 2:18.

    7) All must submit and obey church authorities

    Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

    This is the order God has established, so now we see that children are to submit, obey and honor God and parents.

    This primary responsibility of the children is comprehensive as we have seen in Scripture to obey their parents in all things that do not violate the word of God, of course. Serving and honoring God in obedience then is synonymous of serving, honoring and obeying the parents. It is a thing that cannot be separated from expressing true love.

    In fact, what does John say inspired by the Holy Spirit?

    1 John 4:20-21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

    This principle also works for children and parents. If we truly love God we demonstrate it by loving others whom God commanded us to love.

    The principle, when it comes to children loving their parents, therefore is the same as for us loving our heavenly Father. What did Jesus and the word of God say in regard to demonstrating God, that we love Him?

    John 14:21-24 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

    1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

    We could say then by this principle, by this we know we love and honor our parents, and that we love God when we obey His commandments by honoring and obeying our parents.

    Well, then, we do see that children are called to obey their parents in all things. Therefore, if the parents teach them and train them in the ways of the Lord, the children are not only called to obey their parents but consequently the Lord as well, through what the parents command them and teach them.

    We have seen what parents are called to teach and how to train their children. So children taught and trained by Godly parents will be obeying the word of God in their life when they obey their parents. They will learn thus what God wants from them. Obviously, children are called to become all that we have explained up until now that disciples of Christ must be. Children must become themselves Godly parents and learn and obey their God-given responsibilities, as well as the basic Christian things we must all obey and practice.

    Let us examine the word Honor. Children honor your parents. It says to obey our parents but also to honor them.

    I would like to examine this word in all three languages in which weshould study it.

    First of all in Hebrew in which the original commandment was written. This word has the meaning of giving weight to someone, so honoring is giving weight or importance, to make very great or to promote, esteem. So part of esteeming and giving weight or importance to our parents is to respect them, revere them and obey what they say, as well as taking their advice as precious, especially when it comes from Godly parents who have Godly wisdom and knowledge as well as experience.

    In Greek, as well, the same word means to prize and to revere, fix great value upon.

    In English, it means having respect, reverence, giving recognition as a person of superior standing, having profound respect mingled with love, devotion and awe as well as yielding and submitting to another’s judgment.

    So this is how God wants us to treat our parents, it’s a commandment with a promise. If we are not rebellious and disobedient to our parents, remembering that if we are we are rebellious and disobedient to God. If we honor thus our parents we will be blessed, God promises, with a long life on the earth.

    Now this being very true, in regardto the OT rebellious and disrespectful children where commanded by God to be put to death. So, we know that the salary of all sin is death, but there were only very, very grievous and serious sins that required immediate execution. The transgression of this commandment was one of them, DEUTERONOMY 21:18-21 meditate deeply about this fact.

    This, therefore, is really the greatest of the responsibilities God gives to the children in a family besides all the other personal and individual Christian responsibilities.

    How must children honor and respect their parents when they have started their own family? When a woman has a husband and a man a wife? Well, the Bible tells us a very important truth about this, let’s examine it as it is important.

    Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

    By the way, this is true about the woman as well, in other words the woman leaves her parents to be joined to her husband.

    This means that there is a specific separation between the parents and the children. There is also a change in authority status. The woman who marries passes from the parental authority under the head and primary authority of the husband, remains secondarily under the authority of the parents. In other words, the parents do not any longer exercise primary authority upon the daughter, the husband does. The same goes for the man. The man, however, becomes the head of the woman and the primary authority, the parents exercise secondary authority. The bottom line here is that the submission and obedience of a wife is due to her husband and not her parents any longer. This in any event, both in the male or female case, does not at all exonerate the children to love, respect and honor their parents. In other words, especially in the case where the parents are believers, but not exclusively, the children cannot use the famous excuse we often hear We have our own life”. Although this is partially true, it is also true what it states in the Scriptures. First of all, if we belong to Christ we are no longer our own but we have been bought at a costly price 1 CORINTHIANS 6:19, and in

    1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.

    1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    What Jesus commands us is to love, Agape love, sacrificial love, love that is action, love that denies oneself LUKE 9:23-24. This is true also for children toward their parents. That is why the Scripture we read in 1 Timothy 5:4 stipulates that children must show love and repay their parents, for this is good and acceptable before God. Our parents took care of us, when it’s our turn we will take care of them. That’s what God wants and that is part of obeying the fifth commandment, to honor our parents means to put their true needs above our own, which is by the way Scriptural Christian behavior PHILIPPIANS 2:1-8..

    As the children live at home with their parents they live under the complete authority of the parents, it does not matter how old the child is, otherwise, he or she can go live alone. But while they are living with their parents, they will submit to and obey and honor their parents in all things. Obviously, the Godly parent will use wisdom and discernment to know how to supervise the children when they become older. However, if the children have been trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord there will be obedience and submission and honor on their part no matter what their age is. In fact, Paul did not stipulate that there was an age restriction when he commanded children to be obedient to their parents in all things COLOSSIANS 3:20, although when a child marries and starts a family unit independent from their parents they cease to be under the direct authority of their parents. In other words, children are then not required to take direct commands by their parents on things that concern their personal family life. Parents should in this case become wise and discerning counselors for their children without invading their personal space and privacy without demanding to be in authority in the life of their children.

    However, the children in order to obey the fifth commandment, must observe respect and honor to their parents and not become rude and disrespectful toward them even if disagreeing on something,. However, since it is part of the meaning of honoring, the children must at least give weight and importance to the parents advice and instructions especially if in this case they are Godly, wise and experienced parents, without forgetting that they probably have their best interest at heart especially if the counsel, instruction and advice comes from the word of God. We are not talking of merely being opinionated about something.

    There is a subject within this commandment of honoring parents that must be examined a bit more in depth. It is something many, many children fail to keep. Because of this failure they transgress the fifth commandment. This form of dishonor is subtle at times but I believe today it is becoming more and more known even by those who practice it. In other words, children who commit this sin knowingly do it, knowing they do not want to honor and respect their parents especially when they become elderly.

    This transgression is widely practiced today in society, in the world this goes without saying. However, now unfortunately it has taken root in the church as well. As we already stated several times this is because the church at large today follows more easily the ways of the world then the ways of God.

    I must say that this is caused for a great part from two things. One reason is because, as Jesus said, as we approach the very last days, because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold MATTHEW 24:10-12.. This love that grows cold includes the natural love that children would have for their parents and the parents for their children, see also the description given by Paul in

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    The second reason that adds to the love growing cold and the natural affections disappearing, as we see written in addition to the contribution of a society, is the control of Satan. Loving pleasure more than God renders children traitors toward their parents as well as parents toward their children, see the sin of abortion.

    In the section we studied regarding the sanctity of life, we did see how society in the world has made it so difficult, almost impossible, for the family nucleus to exist the way God intends it to be today.

    What Satan, in reality. has done with his deceptions and lies is this. He was able to completely fragment and destroy the family, as now it has become almost impossible to maintain a level of loving dignity within the family. Divorce, the obligation for both husband and wife to work, the surrender of the children in the hands of strangers, the slavery of people to the world system and its obligations has shredded anddestroyed family unity.

    Where, as in time past, even families who were not believers stayed united and believed in some kind of moral and ethical standards. Today, not only is it almost unseen in unbelieving families, it has become a serious problem in families of people who profess to be born-again believers. Where, as in time past, even the unbelieving families did all they could to take care of their parents when they got older and give them a life of dignity and living to honor them. Today this is a very unlikely scenario even in families of believers, never mind the world.

    Parents that gave much more than they should have to their children now are put aside and not honored and respected as they instead deserve just because of their God-given position as parents and not even exclusively for what they did for their children. As our heavenly Father is worthy of honor just because He is the LORD, and not only and exclusively for what He has done for us, so our parents should be worthy of honor just for their God-given role and position.

    So now parents are being dishonored in so many ways. They are disrespected by their children, offended, put aside, as long as they can function as baby sitters they are tolerated for convenience sake, but as soon as they are no longer in the position to continue to be squeezed by their children’s wants, not needs most of the time, they are not well-taken care of, they are not honored and respected, most of the time they are placed in some kind of facility and forgotten there, visited at best once a week, then gradually less and less. While they have sacrificed their entire life and also their retirement years still taking care of their children’s affairs, while their children work to get their own children and themselves many useless things, many useless luxuries and wants, they in their last ditch effort of love, but perhaps enabling and permissive version of love for their children, would even be willing to be euthanized not to become a burden to their children, children that if given the opportunity would not think twiceabout doing it rather than sacrifice their own lives to love, honor, respect and take care of their aging parents. The excuse, “We have our own life to live” . I hear it everywhere now a days. It’s appalling to know this is what is happening more and more today. It makes God sick, I can guarantee you. It’s a transgression of the fifth commandment and many, if not all, are guilty of transgressing today more than ever even in the church.

    But you see, in the devil’s plans this is fundamental. Iin his plan to destroy the family and to totally offend the sanctity of life, this is really the very last step of his death agenda. In fact, euthanasia will be his next affront to the sanctity of life. This is all planned and it’s working as a charm as I hear more and more people who have obviously bought the devil’s deceptive strategy say they would rather die than to live in certain situations and that if given the choice they would end their lives. Well, they will not have to neither worry nor wait too long, it’s happening as we speak and it will only escalate into a mandatory law.

    Anyway, this my friends is the sad reality in which we are living today. Parents are being dishonored everywhere even in the church.

    I believe at the end of a person’s life cycle the children are called to be the care-takers of their parents. As we said this reality is not possible today because children do not want to honor their parents even when they are not in need of care. They dishonor their parents even while their parents are sacrificing for them and their well being.

    Children you are commanded to do all you can to take care of your own parents, and this from God. This is also honoring your parents. Many say they cannot do it, it is too much of a burden on them. Of course, you do not plan ahead at all, you never think about the day in which this will become a reality. People do not think with the whole family in view, they do not at all use wisdom nor are they capable of practicing Agape love. That’s the problem. You are not willing at all to lay down your life for your parents. This is because you do not realize that you must pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus, which means we must do the will of God always even when it hurts, when it is uncomfortable, when it is hard, when you must deny your self, and lose your life for Christ’s sake.

    That is why we return to the passage Paul gave which principle is all encompassing and it applies to this subject as well

    1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.

    1 Timothy 5:7-8 And these things command, that they may be blameless. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    This is how God sees this my friend. If you dishonor your parents and do not do what these passages say you ought, you are worse than an unbeliever, you have denied the faith you claim to belong to and have.

    I wanted to start here with the responsibilities of the children in the family. The very first thing is, of course, that it is the responsibility of the parents to make disciples of Christ of their children. It is certainly, as we have seen, their responsibility to train, teach and discipline to make them into men and women of God. It is obvious I cannot expect little children to read and understand this teaching by themselves.

    However, I am sure there are many pre-teen and teenage children and even young adults, as well as not so young adults (afterall if we have parents we do not cease to be children), andI realize also that people become saved andborn-again at all ages, so in light of this I am sure, even as Paul wrote addressing children, I must do the same.

    The second responsibility children have, but it is really evenlyand exclusively connected with honoring and obeying their parents, is to become disciples of Jesus Christ, becoming the men and women of God that God desires you become.

    So to learn how to do this I advise you to, in fact God commands you to, obey your parents in the Lord and what the word of God teaches you that you must become. Take instruction from the previous chapter as it teaches how you must be trained and taught and obey it.

    In the house the responsibilities of the children are to obediently do chores and help as well as learn how to run a household, how to take care of younger siblings. As the parents implement work ethics and train you properly and biblically in every aspect of home life, you must remember this is not something separate from what the word of God says children in the home should do. There are many passages in the OT and the NT we understand that children are an integral part of the household work and responsibilities. First of all, children must obey the training of the parents. Secondly, when parents train their children biblically they will follow Scripture’s instructions and these instructions give us the understanding that household work and responsibilities are to be part of the children’s training. Many will try to justify the lack of this kind of discipline and training with the excuse that in Biblical times and even in the past century many people lived in an agricultural and farming culture so that the chores and the work had to be done by all the family members. Well, where is the problem today, even if we live in a city environment and not on a farm or agricultural culture, there is to throw out the garbage, to every so often paint the house, clean the gutters, wash the windows, cut the grass, in many places cut wood, bag the groceries, carry the groceries. So as you see there is a lot of work to be done besides learning to take care of the younger siblings in both physical as well as spiritual matters, and you see that the list can go on and on. So both sons and daughters have a lot of work to learn, so that when they have families they know exactly two things, how to do all those things and what to teach their children to do. Even this aspect of family life is part of the spiritual training of the children and the children’s responsibilities to obey. Without mentioning the extremely important thing that will be instilled within them, the importance and the value of working and how not to be lazy and spoiled. These by the way are very important spiritual principles to learn. They are spiritual Proverbs 13:4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. , PROVERBS 24:30-34,MATTHEW 25:26,TITUS 1:12.

    I leave you with this passage that encompasses both sons and daughters’ responsibilities:

    Titus 2:4-8 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

    May God bless us all and give us the grace to be faithful and obedient to Him in the fulfillment of all the word of God commands us to be and to do. May we endeavor in becoming a true biblical family in every sense of the word. May we deny ourselves, lose our lives, pick up our cross daily to strive against society, culture, our flesh, Satan, the world to be what God wants us to be, whatever the sacrifice. It will be worth the reward of hearing our Lord say Well done my good and faithful servant”.